How much do vanity url shorteners cost

Create your own vanity url shortener

Whether you run a business or just social media, there are plenty of options for you to share. With so many URLs flooding our schedules, it can be difficult to make your URLs stand out.

You may have noticed that some users have their own vanity URL for shortened links - something that clearly identifies the content as originating from them. Creating and using a vanity URL shortenerer can be a valuable asset to your brand and is easier than you might have thought!


1. Get a good domain

Keep it simple

To get started, you need to make sure that you actually own the vanity url that you want to use. You probably already own businessname.com, but that's not a good domain name choice for this role.

Remember, our goal with Vanity URLs is to create short links that are shared on social networks. So using a long domain name will limit the number of free characters you have left to comment on the link. Let's think of something better.

Domai.nr is your friend

Instead of businessname.com, you want to use an alternative that is shorter and yet recognizable as your brand. There are many places on the internet that you can search for a domain name. Domai.nr is there to help you find clever alternatives, short versions and variations that make it perfect for our purposes.


Domai.nr's clean user interface makes it easy to find a perfect short domain.

Using the primary domain businessname.com as an example, there are a few tricks you can try to get a truncated domain:

  1. Remove unnecessary vowels
    • 'businessname' could become 'bsnsname'
  2. Try using vanity top-level domains (TLDs) to store some extra characters
    • Instead of wasting 3 characters with 'bsnsname.com' we can use 'bsnsna.me'. On MacTuts and on our network, we use 'enva.to' for consistency
  3. Get it under 15 characters
    • Do whatever it takes to make the domain less than 15 characters (including a period)

Now that we've developed a usable short version of our domain, we actually need to buy it. You can find a Domai.nr reseller if you want or if your domain purchases are already consolidated elsewhere (e.g. at GoDaddy). There is likely to be a benefit in buying them in the same place to keep everything together.


Domai.nr offers helpful suggestions and various options for purchasing a domain.

2. Set up the shortener

Meet Bit.ly

While there are many different link shortening services out there, most of them don't let you configure their own vanity URL or have a limited network of compatible apps.

To ensure the best experience possible, use the great grandfather of link shortening: Bit.ly. You have seen their links all over the internet so I don't have to tell you that they are ubiquitous, but what you may not have realized is how powerful their service is.

Your enterprise functions will support your vanity url shortener.


Bitly is the largest link shortening service on the internet, launched in 2008.

Before you can get started, you need to make sure you have an account: create one so you can access all of the functionality, including the custom URL feature, you will need. You will also need to confirm your email address before you can proceed.

Enable your custom vanity url

Since Bit.ly will handle the actual shortening, all you have to do is make sure that instead of creating short URLs with their domain, you're using the shiny new one you just bought.

  1. Access to account settings
    • Once you are logged into your account, click on the Account menu in the top right corner of the user interface and navigate to the settings. Once there, switch to the Extended Tab and look for the Custom short domain Heading.
  2. Select your use case
    • At this point, Bit.ly will ask you if you are using the custom domain for personal or business use. You need to fill out a survey when choosing a company. So stick to the personal one.
  3. Do some DNS wrangling
    • After you have created your new short domain, you need to go back to your domain registrar - the company you just bought the new domain from - and access their DNS settings for the domain. This step varies from registrar to registrar, but they all have extensive documentation to help you with this.
    • When you find the DNS settings page, look for the existing domain A record. It should either have or as that Hostname and an IP address as value. What we need to do is modify the record so that the value Field points to this IP address:.
    • you are almost done! If people accidentally add the “www” before your short domain name, you need to make sure the shortener continues to redirect them correctly. To cover this event, you will need to create a new DNS record called the "CNAME" record. For this, enter as that Hostname and than that value.
    • Save your changes! Don't worry about that TTL Values; Just leave the default settings.

Your DNS settings should look something like this when you're done.

patience is a virtue

It can take up to 48 hours (in rare cases) for your new DNS information to propagate across the Internet. So don't expect everything to work right away. Typically, you should be up and running within a few hours. However, this may vary depending on the registrar.

It's not a waste of time, however - you can prepare to use our new system while everything is playing in the background!


3. Use your new vanity url

Check your settings

When you've finished the DNS work, make sure that everything looks good again at Bitly: make sure the correct domain is listed in your domain Custom short domain and select it from the drop-down menu to select it as the default short domain to use.

On your Mac

Now that you are ready to go, there are many ways to consider creating shortened links.

Of course, you can just paste links in the box on the Bitly homepage to have it automatically create an abbreviated version with your vanity url. However, you don't have to refer to it every time you need a shortened link.

There are a number of apps on your Mac that make it easy for you to create and share short URLs, including Short Menu and Shrinkr. Either way, you can log in through Bit.ly and use your new vanity url. However, the short menu has the added benefit of providing a PopClip extension.

Let's take a moment to explore the short menu. They offer a free trial so you can follow suit before deciding whether to use the full version.

Use the short menu

After you've downloaded the app, you'll get a brief description of how Short Menu works. However, you need to do a few settings before you can get started with the vanity url shortener.

  1. Log in to Bit.ly with the old API key
    1. Third party applications use an API key to grant access to your account. So you'll need to get yours to sign in. Visit your Bit.ly account settings page and return to the Extended Tab we were on earlier.
    2. You can find them at the bottom Legacy API key Right click the link to view it and copy the long string.
    3. With the Short Menu launched, click the menu and click the app in the drop-down menu Settings.
    4. Once there, head over to the Accounts tab and use the + Click the button to add the Bit.ly credentials you just copied from the website.
    5. click Add and you are done!

  2. Add as many different service accounts as you use.
  3. Set up the short short function and / or the short short function
    1. One of the greatest advantages of Short Menu is that it offers several options for shortening it. Quick Short allows you to set up a system-wide shortcut to process the shortcut you copied to the clipboard.
    2. From the app Settings navigate to the menu Quick short circuit Tab and click the button Record shortcut to get the app's attention.
    3. Now press the desired key combination. If you assume it is not already in use, Short Menu assigns it and you can use it right away! All the links on your clipboard will be shortened and the result will replace the long version on your clipboard so you can paste it anywhere you want.
    4. The "Auto Short" function works in a similar way, but the process is accelerated by an additional step. It runs a background process that continuously scans your clipboard for links and automatically shortens them when it finds one. Of Settings, jump over to the Auto short Click the button to enable the service if you want to work this way.

  4. It is best to use only one of these options. Pick what works best for you.
  5. Use the short menu via PopClip
    1. PopClip is a fantastic utility that is one of the most flexible tools for Mac due to its extensibility. Short Menu contains a PopClip extension that is easier to use.
    2. There is a link to the Short Menu PopClip extension on the Short Menu homepage.
    3. Just double-click the file and PopClip will install and activate it automatically.
    4. Now when you highlight a link, PopClip will appear with a new lightning bolt icon which will automatically send the URL to the short menu for processing, giving you a perfectly shortened vanity URL.


Other uses

Aside from the menu bar's native menus, you have many more ways to use your new vanity url shortener. Here are a few to note:

The bitmarklet

This handy little tool sits in your bookmarks bar and automatically shortens links with one click without leaving the page. There is also a Chrome extension that works similarly.

Desktop apps

Many desktop Twitter clients let you set Bit.ly shortening in their preferences, including Tweetbot, Seesmic, and Tweetdeck.

buffer

If you want to schedule your posts or simply want to distribute them across multiple networks at the same time, a tool like Buffer comes in very handy. Set up the Bitly integration once and let it work with new links no matter where you buffer them!

WordPress

You can integrate the Bitly plugin to automatically shorten new post links and even share them on your networks if you want.

iPhone

There is an app for that. Create, manage and track statistics for your Bitmarks using the dedicated app.

E-mail

You can email any link from [email protected] from your account's email address to have it automatically truncated. You can also share directly by sending the email to [email protected] rk.me.


Conclusion

Now that you've set up your own custom link shortener, you can share these links without worrying about them looking generic.

Don't forget to log into your Bit.ly account every now and then to keep track of the stats so you know which of your stocks are performing the best!